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>> "inside washington" is brought to you in part by the american federation of government employees -- proud to make america work.or for more informaon aboutfge and membership visit >> this week on "inside washington," the thrill of victory -- >> barack obama has been reelected, the 44th president. >> the agony of defeat. >> this election is over, but our principles in door. >> the year 2012 in review. >> the supreme court has upheld
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the requirement that americans buy health insurance. >> we can afford to have a modedest rate increase. >> natural disasters. we've been destroyed. it is like the apocalypse. >> and human tragedies. >> they are saying somebody is shooting in the auditorium. >> of political fumbleles. >> i have five seconds before you interrupted me. >> and schockers. >> the seriousness of havg a cia director invoed in an extramarital affair cannot b overplayayed. >> all right. as we look back, let's begin with the top political story of the year -- the reelection of barack obama. as "timeme"'s magazine cover story stage -- the president is the
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person of the year -- barack obama will be the first dememocrat in more e than 75 years to win a majority of the popular vote twice. mitt romney has to be asking himself, given the magnitude of the president's problems and the great numbers of americans who believe the country was headed in the wrong dirirection "how did i lose?" the republican national convention, a vermont couple took the stage to describe how mitt romney had helped their termally ill son help settle his affairs. people listening werere in tears but their story never made it to the country. instead, the voters saw this. >> what do y you want me t tell romney? i cannot tell him to do that. [laughter] >> that is just a symptom of what went wrong in the mitt romney campaign, and yet as we observed here week after week, the president was vulnerable and so manlevels. the economic recovery moving at a snail's pace. there was great opposition to the affordable care act obamacare if you will.
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he bombed in the first debate. voters saw a different romney than the candidate for trade in the campaign ads. but then, we saw the victory marked >> the obama campaign was a brilliant, disciplined campaign. it had a very narrow route to victory, and it proceeded to follow it with incredible disciplinend sense of direction, and they raised to a different level the organization imperative in politics. the 2004 bush campaign had been good, but remember r this -- five of the last six elections the republicans have failed to win the popular vote. mitt romney is in a succession. he is not an anomaly. >> the main rereason for mitt romney's defeat, given those problemsms the president had. >> i do think if you ask people at the end of 2011 the middle of 2011, it looked as if it was a slam dunk for republicans. e of the reasons we were at the fiscal cliff wasas because the
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republican resolution of the debt crisis of 2011 was under the tacit assumption that they would control the white house who cares about everything stacked ainst them? i think the main cause was obama ran an absolutely brilliant campaign. republicans had a very weak field, and mitt romney was the best of a vy weak field, and he himself was an odd candidate, a given after the financial crisis, a man essentially of wall street, and also a man who was an essential issue of the 2010 campaign, where republicans have succeeded was obamacare but he had had something similar in massachusetts. he had two strikes against him whwhich made it very difficult against the disciplined obama to win. >> i think obama won because the republicans underestimated him anand they did i three -- did it through a litt self delususion that goes back to 2010 when they considered this to be a referendum on barack obama. it was not a referdum on
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barack obama. it was a referendum on the economy and the incumbentnt, but not barack obama the person. republicans thought this would be a slam-dunk in 2012, but they missed the fact that the turnout in 2010 was so far below what it was in 2008, and the people who did not turn o in 2010 -- young people, a african-americans women -- came t in big numbers for barack obama because they never did leave him. what we saw in 2012 was almost 2008 before. they read too much into it and underestimated obama. >> according to the "boston globe," romney's political director signed a memo to the effect that the race was unmistakably moving in mitt mney's direction. how could they have been so
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wrong? >> i and all the polling, they assumed a smaller turnout by the democratthan they got, but really what they were really guilty of was phenonal cautiousness, over caution. they felt they could win simply on the economy that if the economy was bad, they wld win by default. as a result, they allowed democrats to o define their guide as a clueless,ut of touch rich dietnd did nothing to rebut that, ev though i think mitt romney is a much better person than they alallowed him to appear to the american public. they were so cautious, so careful, afraid of mormonism that they blew it. >> take a look at this. >> the boardwalk the seaside heights of my child would no longer exist. >> after hurricane sandy ravaged the jersey shore just days prior to the election, the nation saw governor chris christie, a
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romney supporter, buddying up to president obama. > when you have irresponsibility for those folks, you could give a damn about the politics of things. i could care less today. >> what is chris christie's political future? >> re-election looks quite probablele to the point where the mayor of newark, who was seen as his principal opponent, has decided to look in other venues to pursue his own political future. he recorded the highest favorable jobing ever found in the governor of n jersey in its history aftryer h handling of sandy >> did that natural disaster and the reacti of governor christie a and the reaing out to the president -- did that help president obama? >> it certainly did. i do not think it was decisive. if the election had been held a weweek earlier, the dayy bore say, and you look at the polls, of course i think obama
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would have won, but it would not have been an electoralal laslide, and i think his 2.8% advantage in the popular vote would probably have been a point less. it is remarkable. in the exi poll, people e ask how important obama [applause] handling of saidid it was, 9% said it was the most important issue. i think 18% said itit was one of the most important issues. a very high number. if you look at t the trajectory of the polls and cleararly had an effect but io not think it was decisive. i think the roooots of the defeat of from the work a lot deeper than that. >> i think he is an imperfect messenger because he has a weight problem and a little bit too much of a mouth on him, but this -- saying to the american people that they do not care about politics and d one is to accomplish things, want us t to get things done -- that is a powerful messagege that both sides shywa from. christieie went right for it. i think that is the future.
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>> mitt romney was also guilty of some self-inflicted woundsds. democrats tried to define him a certain way, but he dedefined himself. he defined himself clearly through that 47%% remark that he made in florida that tripped hi up, but he was a plutocrat, and he talked the way of a plutocrat and did nothing to disabuse people of the fact that he was acsed of being an out of touch rich guy. >> in politics, you always expect the unexpected. congress might actuall
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>> a breakeven is w coming in regarding the chief of the cia generaral david petraeus. >> talk abou expecting t unexpected. who would have thought that the highly regarded head of the
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cia, general david petraeus, would quit his job because of an examarital affair? very disciplined man.. is there a lesson for people in high-profile jobs in n this? >> it is not a lesson they er learn. the idea that it is unusual for the cia direrector toave an affaiir -- t the sainted allenn dulles used to give his wife a diamond every time he commenced a new extramatal l affair. may be the rules are a little fferent -- >> it was a dferent time. >> you c can go forward, , and believe me, there have been subsequent cia directors -- >> do you want to name them? >> no, but i do not understand why the president did not just tell him to apologize and go back to work. >> really? do you believe that? >> he did not give the president a chance. as soon as he found at the store was coming to light, he announced it. >> obama wanted 24 hours to
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think about it. >> but he in effect said, "i am going to step down," and then talked to the president. >> what if tresisident had said "do not do that?" >> i david kaplan's book, david petraeus is quoted as saying he has a front page of t "washington post" role a and if you do not wanto see something on the front page of the washington post, do not do or say it. he was caught by his public image, unle most directors who do not have a public persona theyavee developed and worked on. thisas something that was nurtured, burnished, encouraged, developed, subsidized by petraeus. >> at a time whenen the country had much more stable families and divorceates were very low we had fdr and eisenhower and
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kennedy, a president who obviously had affairs, and they were not penalized. dulles has an airport named after him. >> a different dollars. >> it is aer the family. [laughter] -- a differerent dulles. >> may be it was the diamond- giving that did it. the irony is that in a time when divorce rates are 50%, and we react with this sort of extrememe reaction when n we have a case of that happening with a a high official -- >> i think he shoulde punished. he should pay a price, the public price apologize, be shamed, and he would be, b why can he not go back to work? >> i cannot answer that. let me ask you ather question -- to members congress read polls? it is a seriousuestion. a month ago, the gallup ll had their approvaval rating at 18%.
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i will put a positive spin on thatat -- it i an improvovement over august where it was 10%. you would think that during their wewell-earned chrisas break, both of us would have found a wayy to come together and get something done. >> this is not the fault of ngress. congress is behaving likee congressss. this is the president's fault. he needs to go to the countryy and explain why they need to get this done. he has never done that. >> we are in different universes. i have heard him talk about it over a and over, incessantly about where we should not go over the fiscal cliff. it is congress's fault. congress created this fiscal cliff. no one else to impose this on them. it is a self-imposed problem. >> the problem is that the president has never ge to the nation and made a serus speech
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about debt. he ignored it the first two years. he appoints aommission that he studiously ignores for the nextt two years. that is why we are at the fiscal cliff now. he is not serious about that. none of his proposals the raise taxes on the ridge. it is 8 cents on the dollar. it is a trivial amount money, and he has never put any political capital in entitlemement reform. you talk aut it here or there. never invested in the capital in it. >> i think we have a difference of opinion here. >> if it is such a trivial amount, then why the squealing the yelli, the hurt feelings? all of these plutocrats, my goodness gracious. i will say this -- right now, he is absolutely right. all the political advantage is with the president but if this ththing comes to a complete hal and falls,s, then there will be political blame across the board, and it will undermine all public confidence in the public
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sector. >> all political advantages with the preresident? what is he running for? he won this is his timime to take some political hits and tell the truth for a cnge instead of trying to get political advantage. >> all right, a lookt war
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>> this time of war began in afghantan, and this is ere it will end. >> afghaniststan is now the nation's longest war. more than 2000 americans have died in fighting it. in 2012, the president promised that the end was in sight. what did our brave young men and women in uniform achieve in afghanistan in the year 2012? >> w we lost a lot. we lost a t.
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we can say it is as a result of the president's dead that they did find and get osama bin laden, but they are paying a terrible price. >> was in the idea to go in and 5 al qaeda d now they are fighting the taliban? how lg does this s go on? what is the ratioiona? >> i think the rationale disappeared years ago. obama had anan opportunity when he camen office makthe decision, and he went for a replay of the surge in iraq which succeeded in ira but he did nonotive -- i'm not sure weather it wouould have had any chance but he supplied a numbmber of troops much lower than what commandeders had asked for. suppose to be a sequential opereration -- you do the south and in the east. in the end, he decided he would end the surge before doing the east. i still think g giving -- given
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how unpopupular the taliban a are in ghanistan, there is no assurance that they will retake the country. i think what will happen is a return to the civil war the no. alliance against taliban when we leave, and i think we cannot leave soon enough. >> what we have seen is the emergence of at least, by our standards, a more civilized and humane society with our encouragement, with our stewardship, with our protection, and with our muscle and the real probility, if no likelihood -- maybe inevitility, is that when we withdraw that they revert to the punishment of womomen the failure to educate, and i think that weighs on our conscience, but that is not a justificatition for war, and it certainly does nonot meet the test of -- >> i believe they -- i rd somewhere th they aren't talking about giving women a break, the taliban..
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>> we do not know if we hahad left some years ago if al qae wou have come back in some way. you cannot prove that. >> syria -- how did the united states the government, the administration handled syria perfectly, and appropriately enough, not enough? >> the good d thing about the afghanistan aniraq wars is that they are keeping us out of syria. if it were not for those, i think we would be there. >> syria could become a saster. this is a country y with a huge stockpile of chemical weapons which are pretty active. we have allowed the saudis and qatari to arm the rebels and they are the people who farmed the islamists, sohey now have the upper hand among the rebels. -- arm the islamts. the west did not do anything comparable with the non-islamist opposition. we are looking at the possie country that would dide into
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three or four like yugoslavia or could become the hottest and syria is a serious country. it is not libyaya or ahanistan. -- or could become jihadist. >> a molithic opposition inn syria d thfact t that there are opponents of that regime that we would not be associaiated with either. there are some radicals. that is the difficulty there. >> at what point we say, " that is enough?" have a military servi that is at the breaking point - deployment after deployment after deployment. if we wt to spread this across engage the entire society in it -- a pot that has been advocatedd by no less than stanley mcchrystal and mike mullen, the former chief of operations and joint chiefs of staff -- theyre saying u cannot do this with an all-of
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>> after last night, i want a man whoho had the good sense to marrmichelle obama. [applause] >> ok, i am nominating former president bill clinton put the democratic national convention spee in 2012 as the political speech of the year. anybody want to challenge me? >> i echo tha he g galvanized that convention brought them to their feet. he galvanized the political party. they came out of there as a united party. >> but he has a hugee approval rating. >> there are second acts if not third acts in american life, and bill clinton approves it. thee two most popular figures in the united stes today are bill clinton and hillary clinton. he made a better case for barack obama and joe bidennd barackk obama and joe biden had ever
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made. the other thing about bill clinton's speech is he had the ultimate line in it -- "this econom was so bad even i could not have fixed it." >> i think you pointed out in the opening of the show what was the worst political moment, which was cnt eastwood wasting 12 minutes of prime time when just before, you have had these truly heart renng stories -- heartwarming stories about e humanity of the republican challger, and also a bio which was not shown. that was a terrible tactical error. >> the reason why clinton's spch worked was pple knew it was bill clinton giving that speech. so many political speeches are written by someone else, and they read that way, and the pubblic is sick of it. >> finally, predictions s for the year ahead in the supreme court. >> the supreme court -- it will bbe a gonzo year involving the supreme court possibly strikingg
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down the voting rights act, the subject of gay marriage, and even weather you can patent a gene. anyway, happy new year, everyone. >> happy new year to you, anand she gets the last word. thanks. we will see you next year. >> "inside washiton" is brought to you in part by the american federation of government employees, proud to make america work. for more information about afge
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